I HATE wake-up calls. Hate ’em. Except when it’s for taking photos. Then life is good.
On the morning of the Lakers championship parade, I dragged my sorry ass out of bed at 5:30 a.m. Got a ride to Staples and watched as the masses slowly formed around Chick Hearn Ct.
This boy’s parents had proudly pimped his ride with Lakers colors and a DVD player. Sweet wheels, kid.
I was happy with my choice to be at Staples, where the parade started. A couple miles away at the LA Coliseum, more than 90,000 folks were fighting for seating at the glorified press conference. Don’t people own TVs?
The parade was scheduled to start at 11 a.m. I had arrived at 7. (Yeah...) But there was great entertainment to fill the time. Easily the best laugh came from the guy with the best gimmick: The Horn Guy (above in the white hard hat). Yeah, he could make the sound of a bike horn. Fucking funny. (Check it out). Every time he did it, I couldn’t help but bust out laughing.
Of course, he made me think of The Honk Gal, Amelia Phillips, below in a green wig during Geekfest PDX. Super cute photographer with an infectious laugh. (Do yourself a favor and listen up.) What’s great about Amelia is that she makes herself laugh. As you can tell by her audio file, she’s got a wonderful sense of humor.
The Horn Guy is good, but he’s no Amelia.
LAPD once again did a great job with the Lakers fans, handing out cookies and water and simply being engaging and funny. A very impressive performance.
The show, of course, couldn’t start soon enough. Folks distracted themselves with smacking around a beach ball. The cops even returned fire if a stray ball flew the coop.
I wasn’t credentialed for the parade and I did not get a neon wrist band that said I was legit.
One advantage of showing up early was that I got to befriend the police before the barricades were even built. At around 9 a.m., they decided to fence folks out – which was totally unnecessary. Anyway, I just wandered around with the press corps and acted like I belonged – which I did. Just like in NYC with the Giants parade, I was able to move around as much as anyone simply by playing it cool.
Finally, they loaded up the buses and the show got on the road.
And if you blinked, you might have missed them. They simply gunned the vehicles, blowing past fans (and photographers) that had waited literally hours for this moment.
I was honestly stunned at how fast they went past. Photographers had to sprint to keep up. I felt really bad for the fans. Not that they were complaining. They got to see Kobe – and that’s all they wanted. Me? I would have asked for a refund.
As is almost always the case, I think my best images came before and after the event. The parade was just a reason for everyone to gather and have their photo taken.
Next time, I’m bringing a pimped-out lawn chair in Blazers colors for a nappy nap before Showtime.